The alarm clock rang early this morning for the second day of Rock Junior. The sun had just enough time to shine its light onto the Climbing Stadium and along they came, the protagonists of the Under-14 Cup. After yesterday's Boulder and Speed, the time was now ripe for the third test, Lead. The classic competition, the one with a rope and harness. And the one that defies gravity up the extremely high, legendary Rock Master wall where ever since ever the biggest champions do battle.
Fotostrecke: Rock Junior 2013 in Arco
The goal lay way up there, almost in the clouds. A true, exciting and impossible mission for these great little climbers. But they set off fearlessly to conquer their slice of the skies. They climbed with strength and determination, dancing from one handhold to the next foothold. They pushed themselves. Fought to the bitter end, displaying their art of climbing. It was clear that this was a real undertaking for everyone. No matter how high they got, it seemed as if they always reached that point where they had given their very best. They were, after all, playing their favourite game. And they certainly hadn't lost the great "meaning of the game".
Talking about games: while the young athletes were out and about conquering the highest routes, the champions of Kid's Rock entered the Climbing Stadium. Some were the youngest children of all. Climbing's "tiniest" so to speak. Despite being just 5 years old though, they all had the curiosity and imagination needed to immediately figure out how to climb. Of course many were somewhat older. There were those who perhaps had already climbed before but don't yet belong to a sports club. And then there were plenty of absolute beginners, or almost. They were all there to try the horizontal climbing tests, similar to gymkhanas, comprised of a series of hand and foot holds. Boulder problems were there to be conquered, just like the short toprope climbs. For some it was an absolute "baptism to climbing". But as everyone knows, children have a sixth sense when it comes to understanding games and climbing.
In no time at all the holds within the Climbing Stadium became magically busy. And the view across the Stadium was impressive, magnificent, packed to the brim. Perhaps even, dare we say, more alive than in the past, closer to the essence of climbing than ever before. This was the work of the children who simply never stopped climbing. They were watched carefully by their parents who, like all parents of course, were generous with their words of advice.It seemed as if they too had become infected by these youngsters. Perhaps there were some who, seeing their children climb, remembered the first time they went climbing (many mothers and fathers here today are avid climbers). And there were other parents who, seeing their children at play, perhaps became infected by this new passion.
In the meantime, while the Kid's Rock marathon continued in full force, the Under 14 Cup Lead event came to an end with a great A female Super Final, needed to separate the two Italians Laura Rogora and Giorgia Tesio. In the end it was Rogora from Rome who won the event, confirming yesterday's leadership after the Speed and Boulder events. On the other front, in the Male event, another great Italian hope won the category for the eldest climbers, namely Filip Schenk. These two were joined by the other splendid winners of the 2013 Under 14 Cup: Calin Enache (Romania) and Tamy Moritz (Austria) in category B; Macià Llobet Lluc (Spain) and Deya Vladimora (Bulgaria) in category C.
So the time had finally come for the first rankings of this particularly special, meaningful and touching Rock Junior. For as of this year, the winners of category A were awarded with the 1st Tito Traversa Trophy dedicated to their young friend who is no longer with us. A small champion, ever present at Rock Junior. Like everyone else, Tito loved climbing and dreamt of competing at Rock Master. With this trophy the Arco sports climbing club that organises Rock Junior and Rock Master wishes to make Tito's dream continue, for it be be relived through all his friends who will remember him forever.
Seeing the Tito Traversa trophy lifted up into the sky by his friends and "teammates" Laura Rogora and Filip Schenk was both beautiful and moving. A promise that Tito, the small champion from Ivrea, will climb with them forever. And also with all those who took part in this, and in all future, Rock Junior editions. This promise was felt, real, in the silence, full of meaning, while the entire Climbing Stadium ground to a halt and watched the video dedicated to Tito. This was followed by an applause… for a goodbye which sent shivers down the spine.
In the end this 2013 edition drew to a close with Family Rock, the vertical relay race for children and their parents. A classic event that everyone looked forward to, that combined all Under 14 Cup athletes, the youngest Kid's Rock participants and the oldest parents. This was a festive way to see, first hand, how these children are our hope and future. And also how they must be accompanied serenely along their journey into the future, comprised of climbing but also everything else.
After Rock Junior the Rock Master Festival continues from Wednesday 4 September to Sunday 29 September.